Monday, 10 November 2014
The Dufflecoat Years
When I was a teenage Christian, many things were different. Tambourines were de-rigueur, choruses were found in a yellow book and the youth meeting consisted of telling you lots of things NOT to do. If you were a female type person, chief among the no-nos was make-up, short skirts and dangly jewellery - for this way sinfulness and unavoidable lusts would follow. Although I kind of understood the thinking behind this (well, no I didn't actually but in those days, it wasn't really done to ask) - for someone like me, who had a bit of a hankering for lip gloss and love beads, it was a challenging time. Men were men and girls wore dufflecoats. When I left school and began to earn a bit of money I led a mini rebellion by coming to church wearing blue mascara and a skirt above my knee. Most of my rebellion got in under the wire because the senior leaders were too busy dealing with a bohemian girl who had joined the youth group and encouraged the menfolk to indulge a little too freely in the "community" aspect of church - especially with her. This she managed to do without the aid of make up or short skirts. By the time she had been dealt with (most successfully by someone's wife with a pointy finger and various "non-Christian" threats) the whole of youth womanhood at our church, had run wild and was unabashedly wearing perfume. The genie was out of the bottle.
So when I look around now and see young women in church with hair straightened within an inch of its life, beautiful cat like eye liner flicks that make them look like Nigella and heels that are not doing the church floorboards any good, it makes me smile. I am glad that the old tyranny has gone and girls no longer have to sacrifice eyebrow plucking and person hygiene for Jesus. EXCEPT (and you knew that there was an "except" unless you are new here) I hope that we haven't gone too far and replaced an old tyranny with a new one. I am very keen on the church being a place of safety. The concept is very precious to me even though it can be as rare as hen's teeth to actually see it in action. I hope that girls who don't want to partake in high level personal grooming feel free not to do so. I hope that church is a place where females can feel free to be themselves whether that involves wearing lip liner or just a bin liner.
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